Sunday, March 7, 2021

Everything Can Change in an Instant

Two days ago the husband of a friend from college died in a car accident. She lives in California and we lost touch over the years, and then found each other on Facebook. When Daniel first moved to California we met up with Joan at Stanford. We met one of her sons, walked around campus, ate lunch. It was nice to reconnect after so many years.

Its such a shock, so sudden and unexpected. I feel so badly for her. I’m at a loss for words, but this little bit of writing that I wrote way back in December came back to me. At the time I didn’t feel like posting it; it seemed too corny. I was afraid I would embarrass Lee. But now I’ve changed my mind. Who knows what the future holds? Everything can change in an instant, and there will always be words and actions left unsaid and undone. So here goes.


December 30th, 2020

I wrote this in response to a writing prompt in the New York Times. They wanted you to write a letter to your older self. My older self would be REALLY OLD, haha, so this is what came up for me instead. A fitting way to end this year, I think.

I have been meditating most mornings, using the Headspace App. It’s hard for my busy mind to focus, even for 10 minutes, but I do the best I can. Some days are better than others.

Since Lee had his surgery I have started doing a series of meditations on the topic of appreciation. This series has you ask yourself the question “who or what do you appreciate most in your life right now?” You are supposed to ask the question openly and see what happens. I’ve done this series before and sometimes nothing much would happen at all. But every day so far, without any particular effort on my part, Lee rises as the answer to my question. Could I have lost him? It’s possible. And someday one of us certainly will lose the other one. 

I appreciate his presence, his steadiness, his love of music, his cooking. I appreciate his strength, even though he has to conserve it right now. I appreciate his handyman skills, his woodworking expertise. I appreciate his abilities as a grandfather, the way he can cajole Leo into just about anything in spite of his 3 year old resistance. I appreciate our 40+ years together, through good times and bad. I would be lost without him. Someday I may be lost, for awhile anyway.

It’s hard to appreciate someone without thinking about what it would be like to not have them around. So part of me is reluctant to go there. But the thought of my (even) older self reading this, and remembering what we had, seems like a way to comfort the older grieving self, if it should come to that. Hey older self, remember? Yes, do remember, please.


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